A Nottingham project aimed at improving the quality of life for people with early-onset dementia (EOD) has been shortlisted for £25,000 of funding from the Aviva Community Fund.
Notts County’s Football in the Community (FITC), the sports charity linked to the Football Club, needs the support of the general public to secure the funding to sustain their EOD multi-sports project, which is delivered at Portland Centre in the Meadows.
The project is set to go head-to-head with projects from across the UK in an online public vote.
The project is an innovative partnership of FITC, the Alzheimer’s Society and University of Nottingham.
This partnership works together to reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding dementia and improves the quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers.
The project includes weekly multi-sports and physical activities for participants with EOD. This helps participants maintain their physical skills and learn new ones, as well as become more socially active. Many people with EOD become extremely isolated at home.
Dementia is one of the main causes of disability in later life and the number of people with dementia is rising yearly.
Dementia is most common in older people, particularly those aged over 65 years, but can affect people of any age. There are limited services available for people with EOD who are under-65, which is why this project is so unusual and so vital.
People with EOD need different support to older people with dementia. When the diagnosis is announced, they are often at work, providing support for their family, raising children and still have a mortgage.
A dementia diagnosis is catastrophic at any point, but has a particularly destructive impact on people with EOD. They can lose many things they have taken for granted: their jobs, income, friends, self-esteem and skills.
EOD is especially cruel as, once diagnosed, patients gradually decline and become reliant on others.
Carers say that the personalities of people with EOD are transformed, so they become unrecognisable.
FITC’s EOD multi-sports project offers participants a lifeline and has already had a significant positive impact for three years on participants, their families, carers and friends.
FITC help participants maintain their physical skills and interests, supporting active lifestyles. The project impacts on several levels:
° Physical – participants improve their fitness, cardiovascular health, co-ordination and there is a reduction in the risk of falls
° Mental – participants’ mood, optimism and hope increase, while their levels of frustration are reduced and their quality of life is improved
° Social - levels of interaction increase as they have a reason to leave their homes.
Pippa Foster, Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Nottingham told the Official Site: “This amazing project demonstrates that life doesn't end when dementia begins. It enables younger people with the condition to stay active, to do something they enjoy and to meet other people in similar situations.
“We believe that all those things are really important as people strive to live well with the condition. It’s great to work with Notts County FC Football in the Community, bringing a range of sports to people living with dementia, allowing them to engage in activities that they love.”
“We really hope it can continue to support the working age men who currently attend and would urge everyone to get voting!”
Meanwhile Ian Richardson, former Manager and Captain of the Magpies and current project manager for FITC added: “This is a project that has a huge impact on people with EOD and is unlike anything else across the country. The people we work with deserve to be able to play sports and have something to look forward to.
“That’s what FITC provides with this project, so it’s vital we secure this funding and need people to vote for us.”
To vote for FITC’s Early Onset Dementia Multi-Sports Project, the process is free and simple. People need to register on the Aviva Community Fund website (link below). Each voter has 10 votes. It takes less than a minute to register and vote. Securing this funding will mean FITC can sustain and expand the project. Voting closes on Saturday 30th May.
More information can be found at: https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/3311/